Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter X >> Page 171

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Page 171

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription STATE AND INDIVIDUALS. 171
employs his manure. IIe ceases to buy grain and provisions.
He raises his own hogs and cattle, and his ploughs are driven
by mules and horses foaled in his own pastures. Ile discovers
that he is not worse off now, in raising the commodities them-
selves, for the purchase of which he simply- raised the cash be-
fore ; and he further discovers that, under the present system,
he learns to economize land and labor, to improve the quality
of the land, and the excellence of the labor ; land rises in value
with the introduction of thorough tillage ; and a cleanlier, more
compact method of culture, increases the health of the climate
as well as the prosperity of the planters. With thorough tillage
he can feed his stock, and thus lessen the extent of his ranges ;
and this results in a gradually-increasing denseness of the set-
tlements, which are all that is necessary to rendering the state
as prosperous as the individual has been."" What do you mean by this distinction ?"
It is one that politicians do not often make, and it consti-
tutes the grand feature in which the southern states are deficient
to a northern eye. It occasions some of the difficulties in your
modes of reasoning. The wealth of the state must depend.
mostly upon its numbers. The wealth of the individual will
depend chiefly upon himself. The people of a state may be all
in the enjoyment of comfort and affluence, yet the state may be
poor. This is the case with all the southern states, the govern-
ment of which has a sparsely-settled population on which to act.
Where the population is thinly planted, the roads will be infe-
rior, the public works infrequent and of mean appearance, and
the cities (which depend wholly upon a contiguous back country
for support) will stagnate in visible decline, wanting enterprise
and energy. The roads, the public buildings, and the cities, by
which the stranger judges of the prosperity of a people, will all
depend upon the population of a state. If this be large�if the
soil is well covered the powers of taxation are necessarily
enlarged, without, perhaps, growing burdensome to any ; but the
means of life will be correspondingly diminished in the bands
of the greater number. Want and poverty will trouble thou-
sands ; a f'ew will grow rich at the expense of the rest ; with
the greater number, the struggle will be incessant from morning
to night, to supply the most limited wants of a painful existence.